• A Theory of Regret

    Pages: 176
    Illustrations: 19 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • Acknowledgments  xi
    Introduction  1
    1. What is Regret?  31
    The Habit of Virtue  32
    Nonvoluntary and Involuntary Relations  36
    Stupidity and Akrasia  42
    When to Speak?  35
    2. Impossible Advice  60
    The Postman Always Rings Twice  61
    Possible Advice  71
    The Gift of Advice  82
    Economy, Economics  90
    Sameness and Trust  93
    3. The Problem of Withdrawal  103
    The Trouble with Agonism  106
    Keeping Up Appearances  110
    Appearance and Withdrawal  117
    Hypocristy and Regret  127
    Afterthoughts  133
    Notes  141
    Bibliography  155
    Index  161
  • "I marvel at the argument and the intricate conceptual architecture of the book. This is an incisive, exciting, and very welcome meditation on the power of regret to make us more thoughtful human beings."


  • "I marvel at the argument and the intricate conceptual architecture of the book. This is an incisive, exciting, and very welcome meditation on the power of regret to make us more thoughtful human beings."

  • “Drawing on discourses of philosophy, cinema, literature, institutions, and bureaucracies, Brian Price has crafted an original thesis about regret as an affective imprint of thought. Against the constraint imposed by the imperative to act without remorse, he painstakingly unpacks regret’s characteristic shifts and pauses, identifying in them a transformative potential that restores thought to the openness of contingency and freedom.” — Rey Chow, Anne Firor Scott Professor of Literature, Duke University

    “Brian Price brings forth his deep and surprising insights on the relation of ethics to epistemology with clarity, depth, and humor. Thinking of regret as a modality of moral reasoning, Price shakes up our self-assurance and self-satisfaction with our thoughts and our mode of existence. A Theory of Regret is a compelling and provocative work that will stimulate debate in a variety of domains, including political theory, moral philosophy, and film theory.” — D. N. Rodowick, author of, Elegy for Theory

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  • Description

    In A Theory of Regret Brian Price contends that regret is better understood as an important political emotion than as a form of weakness. Price shows how regret allows us to see that our convictions are more often the products of our perceptual habits than the authentic signs of moral courage that we more regularly take them to be. Regret teaches us to give up our expectations of what we think should or might occur in the future, and also the idea that what we think we should do will always be the right thing to do. Understood instead as a mode of thoughtfulness, regret helps us to clarify our will in relation to the decisions we make within institutional forms of existence. Considering regret in relation to emancipatory theories of thinking, Price shows how the unconditionally transformative nature of this emotion helps us become more sensitive to contingency and allows us, in turn, to recognize the steps we can take toward changing the institutions that shape our lives.

    About The Author(s)

    Brian Price is Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Studies and the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, the author of Neither God nor Master: Robert Bresson and Radical Politics, and coeditor of Color, the Film Reader, and On Michael Haneke. He is also a founding coeditor of World Picture.
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